Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tim Gunn on Superheros' style xD

Just came across these videos online~ So awesome really gotta share with you guys xD

Part I:

Part II:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IMO - Paid Photoshoot

Fellow photographer Beethy recently started a discussion on photoshoot-and-charging on his journal. "Should photographers charge for their service" is like one of the most frequently discussed/argued topics in the cosplay community. If you are a professional photographer unfamiliar with the cosplay scene you will be amazed by how unlikely cosplayers are willing to pay for your service.

The original discussion posted on Beethy's blog: link

People have all sort of reasons why photoshoots should be free. We have photographers aiming only to build their portfolio and/or practice their skill and thus feel bad charging; we have cosplayers even suggesting that photographers should be the ones paying because cosplayers are spending lots of time on their costumes and they are also the one modeling for the photographers; we also have people who think charging for cosplay shoots will eventually turn the cosplay circle into a commercial hellhole where everything is about $$$.

Personally I am not against photographers charging for their service. It make perfect sense to me for an artist to get paid for the time, professionalism and expertise they put in on a project. Just like cosplayers getting paid on commissioned costumes/accessories. Photographers are free to simply put up a price and start charging for their service, be it $10/hr, $100/hr, $1000/hr, etc etc...

However, the thing is most cosplayers don't have a budge for photoshoots and thus won't be willing to spend money on photography service. Not so much because they don't have the money but because most of them treat cosplaying as a hobby and fancy photographs is not really necessary for them to enjoy a good time.

I think photographers shouldn't expect *every* cosplayers to pay for your service. Just like you don't bust into a wedding, take pictures and demand the couples to pay you. There are people who are willing to pay for excellent photographs. However I do think a different marketing strategy/business model should be used due to the lower demand for photography service in the cosplay community...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saboten-Con 2010

Toiea as Lavi from D.Grey-Man

Just come back from Saboten-con in Arizona this past weekend. It was my first time traveling to an AZ con and it was a really wonderful experience. Apparently it's one of the larger local conventions so there were a lot of AZ cosplayers attending. The hotel was a super nice resort and it was all sunny and warm so it totally put me in vacation mood all weekend. xD

GreyFinch as Casimiro from HiNaBn

Walked around the convention a couple times and attended the Hanna's not a Boy's Name gathering on Saturday meeting a group of fellow Hanna fans. Fun time!! Surprisingly there is quite some Hanna cosplayers at Saboten this year. This web comic is seriously getting popular fast :D

So much fun hanging out w. some of my favorite AZ friends and meeting some new ones~~ Can't wait to check out some more AZ cons in the future~~ :-)

Oh yea and now my 2010 convention count is 6!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Self Reminder: At-Con photo shoot

Sac Anime was this weekend and it was pretty much the last con of summer 2010 in California. So far I've been to 5 conventions this year and thanks to that I got the opportunity to shoot at various convention locations. Some shoots went well and some didn't. After reviewing those failed shoots I realized one very important thing that I overlooked all these time.

Here is a screen shot of a poll from my DA:

The most important thing I (or any photog) have to keep in mind is we are at a convention. People are rushing from here to there so we should pay extra attention on how long a shoot might take. Don't be over ambitious trying to finish three 2-hours shoots in 1 day or spending 4 hours for one shoot.

At-con photo-shoots have a totally different set of rules.

Just another self-reminder. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fanime 2010

We have hotel lobby w. classy setting right next to the convention center

Fanime is still my most favorite convention in California. I was so happy to attend this convention 3 years in a row. It has gotta a lot bigger compared to 2007 but still at least as awesome as before! :)

Stairs, tree and grass (aka. park) 3 blocks away from the convention center

There are so many places available for shooting. The variation is really great. You would have no problem looking for location for various series. Also, unlike LA, most of the locations doesn't requires any special photography permission to shoot. Making it much easier for photographers and cosplayers.

Random bikes at the convention center

This year I didn't setup any photo shoot but instead I was walking around the convention center getting photographs here and there. It was really fun hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones. I really enjoy being so relaxed at con, I guess I'm gonna do this more often from now on :)

Indoor at the convention center

All images (hi-res) can be found on my homepage and my DeviantArt. Anime Expo is in 10 days... I can hardly wait for the fun time ahead!! :D :D

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Remarkable ACG Photographers

What Frank West was planning to do with a camera in this situation is beyond me

If you are a fan of anime, comic or game I'm sure you already noticed there are quite a lot of photographers in various ACG series. In a twisted sense, they are much like photographers in real life in which they all carry their equipments around everywhere they go and each have their own skill-level and specialties. However, the biggest different is that in the ACG world most of these "photographers" used their camera for everything but photo taking...

Here is a list of remarkable ACG photographers. You might consider them to be as big as Nigrel Barker in the ACG world. xD

Aya Shameimaru - Creepy Photographer

Aya uses a wide range of gears. Including Leica rangefinder, p-and-s, dSLR, SLR... anything

Aya is one of the many characters from the famous non-commercial gaming series Touhou Project. She is the main journalist of her own newspapers Bunbunmaru Newspaper and is always busy collecting material for her articles. She has a habit of taking embarrassing or risque photos of other characters for her newspaper and she is often being seen harassing her assistant Momiji Inubashiri. Definitely one of the most infamous creepy photographers in the ACG world.

Momiji is often a victim of Aya's harassment.

Frank West - Super Hero Photographer

Frank's favorite gear is probably baseball bat, or guns or anything that kill zombies

Frank West told everyone not to mess with an ACG photographer in the epic Capcom action game Dead Rising. In the game he was forced to fight his way out of a zombie-infested mall with anything he picked up in there. Obviously being artistic with his photography didn't quite make it to his priority list and thus his camera is more like a fancy necklace than a... camera. After playing for a while I really think he should consider a career change. He could be an AMAZING underground fighter I'm sure. XD

Frank will be appearing in Marvel vs. Capcom III next year. This time bringing his game to the next level by fighting against various superheros from Marvel.

Heroines from Fatal Frame - Drama Queens

Camera Obscura is the gear of choice in the Fatal Frame series

There is a lot of very dramatic events going on with Miku Hinasaki, Mayu/Mio Amakura and Rei Kurosawa from the Fatal Frame series. Among the 4 of them Rei is an award-winning freelance photographer while Miku is a photography assistant (Fatal Frame III). However, unlike most freelance photographers in the US they don't get to deal with style and clients much during their work hours but instead they deal with ghosts, exorcism, and dark Shinto rituals on a day-to-day basis. Definitely not an easy career over there.

Can't wait to try Fatal Frame IV on Wii.

99% of Rei's tasks involved photographing ghost from various haunted mansions. Quite different from what we do in California.

Jiro Tomitake - Victim Photographer

Gear of choice for Jiro is his SLR. He is going everywhere with it.

Jiro Tomitake is quite an unfortunate photographer as he got killed so many times in the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. For a second there he might even reminded you of Kenny Mccormick from SouthPark except his death is usually less comical. He is a freelance photographer who travel to the Hinamizawa town around 3 times a year for his work but unfortunately usually ended up getting killed there.

He specialized in bird photography... although we didn't really get to see any of his works from the series.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IMO - SouthPark

(image source: WarriorPoint)

A few years ago I thought all American cartoons are for kids and I'd introduce people to Japanese animes just because they are less "kiddy"...

Recently I realized I've been totally wrong all these time... South Park for one is definitely not for kids xD

The theme and story-telling of this show is so different from anime in general. The show is always about the current events happening in the society. Criticism of countries' politics, religions and many other touchy subjects are usual topics of the show. Also, no matter what the topic was the four kids would still swear non-stop in most episodes (except maybe Kenny since we can't really tell what he is saying most of the time xD) The script are nicely written so most of the time you'd get a good laugh from it rather than be pissed/offended by the show.

I'd recommend this show to everyone (18+ I mean). If you are an anime fan and need a break from it this is definitely the show to checkout! I am sure you are gonna be addicted :D

... IMO this show really need more love from the cosplay circle. It'll be AWESOME :D

All episodes available on

Friday, February 12, 2010

Top 10 series in the 2010 cosplay scene - 2

At least the Europe's Debt Crisis doesn't have much to do with this one (Google Image)

Warning: nerdy entry... continue from previous post

Reborn! (aka. Katekyo Hitman Reborn)

Reborn! all-stars (image source: Google Image)

Info: wiki
Reborn has been a very popular shonen series in the cosplay scene for quite a while. The chracter design are simple and clean making them relatively easier to cosplay. The list of character growth as the series proceed and both the anime, manga and light novel are still ongoing meaning we'll be sure to see more and more cosplays from this series in 2010.


Zone-00 main cast (image source: Gaia Online)

Info: wiki
If you frequent Japanese cosplay sites such as Cure I'm sure you already heard of this series before. This manga has been quite popular in the Japanese cosplay scene since 2 years ago and we started seeing more and more people cosplaying from this series in Taiwanese conventions last year.This year in Anime LA and AOD we started seeing our very own Zone-00 cosplay group. There is still no news about an animation series yet but it's already so popular among the ACG circle. I'm sure we'll see a lot of people cosplaying from this series this year.

Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII in game scene (Image source: PSPSPS)

Info: wiki
We started seeing cosplays from FF-XIII in the US cosplay scene since... 2007. As the release date drew near we kept seeing more and more people cosplaying characters from the series. As we (fans) all know, the English version of the game is scheduled to be released on March 9th this year and it's only logical to expect even more fans cosplaying from this series. As always the designers in Square Enix did an awesome job in the costume designs. I can hardly wait to see more Final Fantasy cosplayers walking around convention centers everywhere.

Avatar the last Airbender | Alice | Avatar

Tim Burton's Alice in wonderland (Image source: Manny the Movie Guy)

Info: wiki | wiki | wiki
Cosplay from movies is more popular in some conventions than the others. WonderCon and San Diego Comic Con are two of the bigger conventions where movie-cosplay is more popular. Avatar made a great impact early this year and we can definitely expect seeing cosplays from this movie. Avatar the last Airbender and Alice are another two highly anticipated series to be released some time this year. Anyway C'mon guys these are movies, 3 hours at most... check them out before going to these cons would you? XD

Katanagatari | Baka to Test to Shōkanjū
Katanagatari (Image source: Brianandrew)

Info: wiki | wiki
New series are like penny stocks (lol). It's hard to tell how big are they gonna get but for sure some fans will be attracted to these two very colorful series and decide to cosplay from them this year. They are both still airing in Japan this season and they are really fun to check out. Definitely look forward to seeing them at cons.

We will get more pointers from CWT24 in 2 weeks. By then we'll have a much better idea on which series to "invest" in for the convention season this year! Good luck people. Have fun shooting in various 2010 conventions!  XD

...darn I'm nerdy... lol

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Top 10 series in the 2010 cosplay scene - 1

Cosplay photography is a serious business (image source: Getty images)

So all of us photographers who like to shoot at anime conventions know that the cosplay scene is fast and constantly changing like Wall Street. If we invest our time researching the wrong series we'll ended up losing EVERYTHING in the upcoming convention season. Because of that, insider information and a little prediction is very important for what we do.

Since I'm feeling nerdy bored let me list my personal guess on 2010 most popular stocks series in the cosplay circle. I spited up the entry into 2 to hopefully make it easier to read :D


Members of the Vocaloid family (image source: komica)

Info: wiki
The Vocaloid family were already HUGE in many Asian and US conventions last year. We can expect to see them being even more active this year with the addition of new characters, songs and the much anticipated Black Rock Shooter anime project which is scheduled to air this Spring. Magnet, Akuno Musume, Hagane and Black Rock Shooter are some of the most popular series among the cosplay circle. Definitely check them out!

Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji)

Sebastian and Ciel from Black Butler (image source: komica)

Info: wiki
Black Butler was already a "major player" in 2009. It was not unusual to run into 10 Ciel and 8 Sebastian in a convention. The series have extremely remarkable costume designs and it definitely got the attention of many cosplayers worldwide. The more recent addition of the Noah's Ark Circus pushed the design to the next level and now everyone in the series seems to wear Haute couture wherever they go. I think we can definitely expect to see more Black Butler cosplay this year.

Macross Frontier

Movie poster of the Macross Frontier movie "The False Diva" (image source: komica)

Info: wiki
Macross Frontier was a big hit back in 08 and 2009. The amazing storyline and characters development of this series made it a very popular choice among cosplayers. Although the TV series ended in 2008 the manga is still going on and from what we saw in ALA and AOD it is clear that cosplayers are still very excited about cosplaying characters from the series. I'd expect the upcoming movie scheduled to release in Japan this Fall would keep the momentum going for 2010.


The 4 main girls in their concert outfits (image source: komica)

Info: wiki
K-On was another commercial success of Kyoto Animation, the production company of Full Metal Panic, Lucky Star and Haruhi. The story was about these 4 girls of a really laid back after-school music club. Some of the outfits in the show are gorgeous, unfortunately they were only being showcased in 1 or 2 episodes when the main characters performed in "concerts". Despite the lack of costumes we still saw plenty of people cosplaying from the series in 2009 and with the airing of a 2nd season in April I'd look forward to seeing more and more cosplay from this series.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Mari Illustrious Makinami, new character of the Evangelion series (image source: komica)

Info: wiki
It might sound weird to expect a series from 1995 to come back 15 years later. Believe it or not, Evangelion is getting BIG once again thanks to the newly released animation movies. Two of the 4 episodes of the new movie series has already been released and the new characters and storyline once again attracted lots of fans and cosplayers. The last two movies is supposed to introduce us a brand new ending of Evangelion and they will come out in Summer and Winter this year. Prepare to see more Rei and Asuka running around the convention centers this year.

(... continue in Part II)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AOD 2010

I still kinda remember how I told myself in 2009 to cut back on conventions (to save up for food) but I guess it's just not that easy... lol

"Genma Shizume, Darker than Black". Cosplayed by: Muze

So after a relatively last minute decision of attending Anime LA last month, my fellow soCal friends and I decided (again, last minute) to drive all the way to San Francisco to attend Animation on Display. It is a relatively smaller conventions that all of us have heard of but none of us have ever attended before. It was a nice experience to have a convention in such a busy neighborhood (SF Japan Town) where we have access to nice restaurants, grocery stores and pretty much everything in San Francisco. The convention hotel was a bit small, however, I was quite surprised by the variety of locations available for shooting. The gorgeous Japan Town made a wonderful backdrop for shooting various anime costumes.

Although I didn't take many pictures it was still a lot of fun hanging out with friends and checking out all these random restaurants in San Fransisco. I can hardly wait for more fun time this year. I'm sure it's gonna be awesome! :)

Wandering around J-Town with "brown bags" (aka.. beer) in hand (image source: Minh Soi)